November 19, 2017

Ludmila (Mila) Pollock | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Educators

Ludmila (Mila) Pollock

CURRENT POSITION

Executive Director, Library and Archives, Genentech Center for the History of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY

DEGREE

MLS, St. John’s University, 1995

LEARN

repository.cshl.edu; library.cshl.edu/memoryboard

Photo by Constance Brukin

Science History Wrangler

As a child in the USSR, Mila Pollock loved both her grandma’s extensive library and the medical stories her mom, a physician, told her. Eventually, that combination led her to medical librarianship. From 1981 to 1992, she worked in the reference department at the State Central Scientific Medical Library in Moscow. She loved the job but immigrated to this country to be with her American husband, Don, a dedicated science teacher, to whom she credits much of her success here.

Debbie Rand, then the director of Long Island Jewish Hospital Medical Library, New Hyde Park, NY, became her mentor and helped inspire her to pursue her work in the States. “She made me believe I could implement the knowledge I had while learning new things,” says Pollock.

Throughout her 16-year career at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Pollock has been innovatively providing medical professionals and scientists access to vast amounts of historical knowledge. Her oral history project has been one of the most rewarding. It began spontaneously in 2000, during a gathering of scientists. Pollock spoke with them about their work and the future of the field. “I realized that if I could record the conversations of these extraordinary people, then many others would be able hear what they had to say. I sent a staffer out that day to buy our first simple video camera. Today our collection of 157 video interviews is widely used.”

Pollock and her colleagues are working on a comprehensive website and ebook on the Human Genome Project (HGP), not surprising given that CSHL houses the papers of Nobel Prize laureate James D. Watson, first director of HGP and codiscoverer of the structure of DNA, who led the lab from 1968 to 2003. “I have never met a science librarian with more spunk and creative mettle than Mila Pollock!” Watson says.

Pollock’s passion is making navigating topics with immense amounts of information less challenging. “My most fervent hope is to do similar projects, especially one covering the history of cancer research.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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Comments

  1. Congratulations, Mila! Working with you is always exciting. You have fantastic ideas and tremendous energy. You are the epitome of a Mover & Shaker.

  2. One of the most rewarding aspects of academic research librarianship in the greater NYC area is the wonderful professional networking and fantastic colleagues. You are right at the top of the list, Mila. Congratulations! You ARE a “mover and shaker.”

  3. Laura Whitman, MD says:

    From Moscow to New York City, I have admired Mila’s intellectual curiosity and bright spirit. Congratulations, dear friend! Laura Whitman, MD

  4. Donna Gibson says:

    Mila – Congratulations on being recognized as a Mover & Shaker. A well deserved acknowledgement of your contributions to your organization and to our network of information professionals!

  5. Jonathan Wachtel says:

    Enjoyed learning these impressive details about you and your passion.